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THE T-SPOT: Marissa Lewis-Peart

Welcome once again to the T-Spot, the official MUSTA Talent Spotlight where we highlight some really talented people, from really creative industries.

Up first, we have the amazingly creative, Marissa Lewis-Peart! Now, when it comes to Marissa's work, she is amongst the most innovative we have spotted, so we caught up with her to find out how it all began!

Q1. What do you do?

I help businesses connect to people through strategic design. What that means is that for me it’s not just about how things look, it’s more to do with the overall experience that someone is having with a business through their design touchpoints. So it’s not just “oh that’s pretty”, it’s more “oh that’s pretty, what messages is it subconsciously communicating through style, shape, colour, navigation etc. That then helps to impact brand image and the perception that people have of a brand.

Q2. What’s your story? Where did it all begin for you?

I’ve always been quite a creative person. I grew up interested in arts & crafts and I actually also attended a dance and drama school. I got into the psychological and strategic side of design in college where I studied Media Studies. I also studied Communication and Culture which covered how people interact with the media but with a deeper focus on the psychological and sociological aspects in particular. I then came across Graphic Design, which when I asked my Mum, she basically described to me as being about leaflets and websites, so I tried that and really enjoyed it. I then went on to study Graphic Communication at University and I just went from there. Actually, looking backwards, I can really see how I ended up where I am today, but growing up I didn’t actually fully grasp what it was that I was getting myself into. There was just always that innate desire to be creative and a deep fascination with psychology and a little bit of consumer behaviour!

Q3. What is the most important thing that you’ve learnt on your journey thus far?

I’d say the most important thing that has really helped me and took my work to the next level, particularly at the end of my second year at University was realising that it’s not about what you think looks nice- it’s about what the consumer is going to engage with and what the business actually needs. That really gave me the understanding that I needed to be able to plan my work better and produce better project deliverables.

Q4. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

I’d actually say that travelling is my biggest inspiration. I get a lot of inspiration from being in other countries; experiencing their cultures and putting myself in new environments. I go about incorporating this into my work by thinking about the experience I’m trying to recreate through the project, based off the previous research that I’ve done and indeed my very own visual experiences too. This is often my starting point or concept with a project and I tend to just go from there. Sometimes I will be inspired by a museum I visited in another country or something I may have noticed whilst taking a walk alongside the beach. My work definitely has a life of its own!

Q5. What’s your favourite project that you’ve worked on so far?

I would have to say one of my favourite projects has got to be working on the visual branding for Kloser which is a dating events company. I had a lot of freedom when I was working on that project so that really helped me to enjoy what I was doing. I got to do some detailed research into the culture (of the brand) and the market, plus consumer feelings toward dating companies. From that research came a lot of data that helped me to position the brand and think about how it had to look and feel, plus how people would engage with it.

Q6. From your experience, what kind of advice would you give anyone who is trying to gain access into your industry?

I would say to build up a network of people, particularly on LinkedIn. People tend to be quite scared of connecting with people that they don’t know on there, but they really shouldn’t be. Just add them and see what’s going on with them by striking up some conversation. When things go back to relatively normal then networking events are always a great way to meet people within the industry. Don’t be afraid to ask people questions because most people are genuinely quite happy to help. Also, try to learn and access information that isn’t just about look and feel, but more so about the strategy behind why things look the way they do. Specifically, look into the fundamental design principles, guidelines, rules, theories and functionality, that explain why things are a certain way.

Q7. Creatively, what is your biggest strength?

I’d say being able to accurately pinpoint the concept behind something. This was something that was identified pretty early on by my tutors at University who saw how keen and intentional I was with my research as I was able to pull insights from what I had learnt into the work that I was producing.

Q8. Creatively, what is your biggest weakness?

I get a lot of creative block. Sometimes I can be trying different things for ages and yet none of it will really work, it’ll just seem so off for me and I often can’t figure out why. I try to motivate myself, but I have come to the understanding that design is a process. You never know what the outcome is going to be like when you first start on a project, but by going through the motions, you usually come out with something that fits really nicely. When I am feeling a little uninspired then I just take a break to focus my mind on something else for a while. It can be as simple as going to do some dishes, the important thing is just to remove yourself from the situation so you can view the problem more objectively and come up with a resolution for it.

Q9. What does your future look like? Where do you want to be?

I hope to be consulting with large consumer-facing brands about how they are interacting with their customers and helping to make the experience for their customers better through design. That could be through branding, visual identity, website and so on. I’m currently in the process of developing an app which hopefully should come to fruition pretty soon, so it would be great to also become a household name within the hair care industry.

Marissa is a 22-year-old Visual Designer and natural hair care enthusiast based in Bristol. As a designer Marissa’s primary focus is branding, looking at the experience that people have with businesses in regards to their branding and digital design. As a natural hair care enthusiast, Marissa is known under her brand name, RootsUndone. She’s worked with brands to review products, host natural hair events and has spoken on panels around natural hair related topics.

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